University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

Edwards, George, 1694-1773. / A natural history of birds : most of which have not been figured or described, and others very little known, from obscure or too brief descriptions without figures, or from figures very ill designed
Part II (1747)

The white partridge,   pp. 72-[Plate] 72 ff.


Page 72

( 72 )
The WHITE PARTRIDGE.
H I S Bird is of a middle Size, between our common Partridge and a Pheafant,
and Shaped
T[ ' much like a Partridae, except that its Tail is a little longer.
The Bill is Black; the Noflrils covered with fmall white Feathers, turning
forward ; the un-'
der Chop of the Bill has alfo white Feathers at its Root ; the Eyes are encompaffed
with
a narrow Space of white Feathers; above each Eye are loofe Eye-brows, faflened
only at their
Bottoms, rifing on each Side higher than the Crown of the Head, of an Inch
Length, and half
an Inch Breadth, cornpofed of a Subftance like Plufh, or the Skin round the
Eyes of a Cock
Pbrafrant, of a fine Red Colour: The Head and Neck are of a Reddifh Brown,
barred a-crofs
with fine Lines of Black, a few white Feathers being intermixed in the fore
Part of the Neck:
The Middle of the Back is White, as is the whole Wing, except the Shafts
of the greater
(OLiils, which are Black: The variegated Feathers at the Bottom of the Neck
do not break off
very fuddenly, but are Sprinkled on the Beginning of the Back, and between
the Back and
Wings on each Side; there is a fprinkling of them alfo on the Breafi, and
fome few in the co-
vert Feathers on the upper Side of the Tail: The two middle Feathers of the
Tail are variegated
tranfverfly with Brown and Black in the fame Manner as thofe on the Neck,
&C. The two
next on each Side White; the remaining outermoft Tail Feathers of a dirty
Brown or Black Co-
lour, tipp'd with White: The Belly, Sides, Infides of the Wings, covert Feathers
under the
Tail, Legs and Feet, to the Ends of the Toes, are wholly covered with white
Feathers, thofe
on the Legs and Feet refembling Hair more than Feathers: The Claws are of
a Brown Colour,
and pretty long, but fomething flatter than what is common in Birds.
The ftuffed Skin of this Bird is preserved at Sir Hans Sloane's, from which
I made my Draught
and Defcription. Mr. Light, who is now returned from Hud/on's Bay to England,
on feeing this
Bird, faid it was the Cock Bird, as it appears in the Spring, when it is
changing from White
to Brown ; their Feathers being in Winter of a perfec&t fnowy Whitenefs,
except the outer Fea-
thers of the Tail, which are Black tipp'd with White; they begin to change
in the Spring,
and become Brown on their upper Sides, the Belly remaining moftly White.
Mr. Light brought one of thefe Birds from Hudfon's Bay, and gave it me, which
was perfecR-
ly White; he fhot it there in the Winter, and affures me, on his own Knowledge,
that thefe
Birds towards Evening repofe themfelves under the Snow, (which in that Country
is loofe,
like fine dry Sand) where they continue all Nighit, and in the Morning fly
direcfly up to fhake
off the Snow; he hath often feen them rife, and found their Dung in their
fnowy Lodgings:
He fays they are obferved to feed only in the Morning and Evening in Winter,
and fiun them-
felves in the Middle of the Day. They are Natives of Hudfon's Bay, where
they breed, and
continue all the Year; but are common both to Zinerica and Europe. I have
r ceived the very
fame Birds from Norway; and all our Treatifes on Birds defcribe them very
exaaly, and place
them in the Mountains of Switzerland, Italy, Spain, &c. It is not properly
a Partridge, but
of that Kind we call Heath Game, and /llrovand, Lagopus anis. You will find
him defcribed
in his Winter's Drefs in TVilloughby's Ornithology, Pag. i76.
The Bird I took   Draught from, above defcribed, had the Red on the Eye-brows
much
wider than I ever faw: in any among the great Number I have feen, it being
hardly percep-
tible in fome when the Skins are dry; which makes me think this was an old
Cock in the Sea-
fon of his lll Vigour, for we obferve that the Combs of our common Poultry
are much larger
and redder in the Spring than in the Winter Time. As I find that fome of
the Particulars which
I have discovered relating to this Bird are entirely new, I hope the Curious
will not think my
Labour and their Coff wholly thrown away, notwithftanding it hath been long
ago de-
fcribed, and is well known to the Curious. It bath efcaped Mr. Albin's Notice.


Go up to Top of Page